Source: freepik

What is Product Sorting?

Sorting offers customers the ability to narrow down their product searches to easily and rapidly finding the products they are looking for. Sounds like a piece of cake, right? Buckle up, it’s more complex than that. 

The product sorting options in WooCommerce can be extremely beneficial to both the customer and the retailer. Customers, for example, will sort products by Best Seller/Most Viewed options when looking for the most popular product, or by Newest Option for recently added products. This in return, will enhance their UX and overall shopping experience which will ultimately satisfy the salesperson behind the screen as well. 
To get the bigger picture of the whole product sorting scenario, we’ve prepared a detailed screenshot as an example of what it is and what it does: 👇

Source: About You

Subsequently, every time you’ll open an eCommerce website and start scrolling through its products you’ll see these two elements: product filtering and product sorting. As you can see, the sorting options for this website are listed by ‘Highest price’; ‘Lowest price’; ‘New arrivals’; and ‘Maximum reduction’

Also, it’s important to note that filters reduce the number of products based on the type of criteria you set, while sorting does not change the total number of products, it just rearranges them. 
These, however, are common and useful product sorting options, but let’s see a few sorting elements that break the pattern: 👇

Source: Roxy

As you can see, the folks at Roxy, a surf, snowboard, and fitness brand, use slightly different sorting techniques than we’ve seen in the first example. The ones that stick out the most are the ‘Best Sellers’, and the ‘Product Name A to Z’ and vice versa. 

Let’s be honest: not all products will perform equally. Some of your products will perform far better than others in your eCommerce store, and that’s perfectly fine. However, don’t forget that customers may want to look at some of your store’s best-selling items just to get a glimpse of what’s fresh. Adding an option like ‘Best Sellers’ simplifies their search for your most popular products.

The other sorting option can be just as important and useful along the same lines, and we’ll explain why. 

Having the possibility to sort your products alphabetically may help the customer in finding the products they are looking for, especially if they already know the product or have purchased it before. 
Another important sorting element is ‘Availability’. Let’s see the following example: 👇

Source: Burton

Don’t you just hate it when you see a product you like, click on it and decide that you want to purchase it immediately, but you’ll soon discover that there is currently none available in stock? Isn’t that a complete mood wrecker?! It is, we’ve all been there. 

So, what can you do to avoid losing customers and their trust? Set up a sorting option like ‘Availability’ thus ensuring customer satisfaction. Without further ado, let’s see how exactly you are supposed to create and set up these sorting options for your online store.

What constraints does the WooCommerce Product Sorting feature have?

The majority of WooCommerce-optimized themes include a basic sort dropdown at the top of the shop and category pages. Customers can utilize this to modify the default sorting order from popularity to average rating, latest, low to high price, and high to low.

The main issue is that WooCommerce’s default product sorting options are quite limited. To be more specific:

  • WooCommerce products can only be sorted using a very limited set of values. Sorting options include popularity, average rating, latest, price: low to high, and price: high to low.
  • While you can choose how products are sorted, you cannot choose the sort order.
  • The default options do not improve the layout of your products or present them in a way that facilitates sorting or comparisons.

How to Sort Your Products Using WooCommerce

WooCommerce includes several options for sorting your products on the Shop page. Most people, however, are unaware that there is a WooCommerce custom product sorting option. You are presented with six options by default: 👇

  • Default Sorting
  • Popularity 
  • Average rating
  • Most recent
  • Sort by Price (ascending)
  • Sort by Price (descending)

Before all else, let’s take a closer look at the first option by which you can set up product sorting: the Default Product Sorting. To set up the sorting option using the Default Product Sorting head over to your WordPress Dashboard and from there go to AppearanceCustomize.

Check out the screenshot below for a better understanding:

After that, go to WooCommerce → Product Catalog and you’ll see the Default Sorting Options in just a second. 👇

As you can see, these are no different than the ones I’ve enlisted earlier. After you’ve set up the Default Sorting Option, it should look something like this:

Your customers will be able to use these sorting options to change the product order by popularity, average rating, latest, price: low to high, and price: high to low.

However, it’s important to note that these built-in sorting options do not provide the best facet to achieve an enriched user experience. 

More precisely, your customers will only be able to sort WooCommerce items by a limited set of values. They can sort by popularity, average rating, latest, price: low to high, and price: high to low using the default options, excluding options such as ‘availability’ or ‘best sellers’ as we’ve seen in the previous examples. But before we show you how you can achieve more unique sorting options, let’s just stop for a second and explain one crucial difference between Product Sorting and Product Filtering. 👇

What’s the difference between Product Sorting and Filtering?

As we’ve mentioned before in our previous article about WooCommerce Product Filtering, the two are more like cousins than siblings. While they are both similar, they serve different purposes. 

Sorting is a way of altering the order of any product listing in which users can specify which metrics they want the items to be listed by. As a result, price-conscious web users may prefer to list the products in ascending order of price, from lowest cost to most complex and costly.

On the other hand, filtering allows customers to narrow down their product searches based on a variety of criteria such as price, color, size, and reviews. These filters are responsible for making it easier for our customers to navigate through the products and find what they want faster than a speeding bullet. 

So, do you see the difference now? The two are the same, but not quite the same, if you know what we’re talking about. 
Now that we’ve cleared the road, it’s time to see some product sorting best-case practices which will make your online store stand out from the crowd. 👇

Product Sorting – Best Case Practices

Let me reveal a little secret to you. The amount of time it takes someone to make a decision grows in direct proportion to the number of options from which they must choose. When done correctly, product sorting will reduce thousands of products to a manageable number and order products to meet the user’s interests and needs. 

Therefore, if your sorting options are precise and accurate, this will lead the customer to make a purchase.  

The best product sorting functionalities always take product variety and user experience into account. This implies that you should always provide the most valuable sorting options while also designing a user-friendly and simple-to-learn interface.

Here are a couple of things you should consider:

  1. Simple Sorting Labels

These text labels are responsible for directing users to their preferred products. You could simply arrange a series of drop-down menus in a row, but this would result in a poor user experience. The majority of the time, sorting comes via text because it is the safest solution.

Let’s see some examples: 👇

Source: Adidas

When it comes to eCommerce sites, you should always strive for minimalism because your products should be the center of attention. As you can see, Adidas uses some of the simplest yet most efficient sorting methods, ranging from the highest price to the lowest, top sellers, and newest products.

2. Unique Sorting Labels

Source: Kata Miklos

Let’s assume you know exactly what kind of product you want because you’ve been following that brand, and you know that the has been sitting on the shelves for quite some time. So what are you going to do to find it without having to scroll through thousands of other products? You hit ‘Date, old to new’

This example of product sorting can be just as relevant as the ‘Newest’ option because sometimes people are not interested in purchasing the new items but they rather opt for something that has caught their interest a while ago. 

Let’s take another example:  👇

Source: Kiehls

The ‘Best Match’ formula works differently than other sorting options. This algorithm considers several different factors such as specific keywords that the customer is looking for; how popular the product is; the price of the product, and the quality of your product (images, descriptions, etc.). 

To be more specific, if you head over to Kielhs’s online store, the first product list you’ll contains the most wanted and searched products. To strengthen your ‘Best Match’ ranking begin by offering competitive prices, reasonable postage, and excellent customer service. 

3. Sort by attribute filtered products

By filtering products in each catalog list, product properties help users find what they’re looking for. Colors, size, weight, price range, producer, and other similar characteristics are examples of these properties. Let’s say you want to find all red jackets from the cheapest ones to the most expensive ones. This is a great example of filters combined with sorting options. So, how can you provide this option for your customers? 

To sort by attributes, go to your WordPress Dashboard → Products → Attributes. You’ll see a section of your product attributes such as ‘color’, ‘size’, ‘price’. From here, hit the Edit button on the attribute of your choice. Once you’re done select the desired sorting option from the ‘Default sort order’ drop-down. 
Here’s a screenshot for a better understanding of how to do this. 👇

This process can be a little daunting at first but it’s extremely helpful when you have loads of products to filter and sort.

Source: Patagonia

Take a look at this page for a very simple example. The design is extremely sleek, with a simple white background and darker colors for the text and labels, making it easy for the customer to sort through the products, and search via colors, size, fit, or price.

Top-Notch Product Sorting Plugins 

If you are not satisfied with the default WooCommerce sorting options, you can always opt for a specific plugin to help you out, and we’ve compiled a list of the best sorting plugins from which you can choose.

  1. WooCommerce Product Table Lite Plugin

This plugin allows you to sort products more flexibly and efficiently. It makes it possible for you to add various product tables to any page of your website as well as provide your customers with a one-page ordering solution.

Why use this plugin?

  • Add multiple product tables anywhere on your website.
  • Numerous sorting options available, and customers can also organize the columns to their liking.
  • Advanced search filter for keyword searches, filtering columns, etc.
  • Mobile responsiveness ensured. 

How to download it?

Just head over to your Dashboard → Plugins → Add New and type in its name in the search bar. After that don’t forget to activate it and you’re all set! 

2. WooCommerce Extra Product Sorting Options

The WooCommerce Extra Product Sorting Options plugin allows you to add additional options to the ones provided by WooCommerce. On-sale, review count, alphabetical order, reverse alphabetical order, and availability product sorting are among the new sorting options.

Why use this plugin?

  • Increases the number of product sorting options available in WooCommerce.
  • The default WooCommerce sorting options can also be renamed.
  • To remove the default sorting options, use the WooCommerce Remove Product Sorting plugin. 

To download it just do the same as we’ve shown you in the previous example.

3. Product Sort and Display for WooCommerce

With this plugin, you can easily sort your items into categories, and rearrange the order of the categories on the shop page using the drag and drop feature. It also includes a visual separator that you can easily style to your liking. 

Why use this plugin?

  • Drag and drop the order of the categories displayed on the shop page.
  • It unlocks a feature that allows you to scroll indefinitely.
  • Allows consumers to see the total number of products and the number of products per page by enabling ‘Intelligent Browsing’. 
  • Each category’s “on-sale and featured” items are shown at the top of the list.

To download it just do the same as we’ve shown you in the previous example. 


Pat yourself on the back if you’ve come this far!

Product sorting is a fantastic solution that can help both customers as well as retailers. This technique will allow you to increase the visibility of your website, attract new potential customers and increase the likelihood of purchasing from your website.

Sounds good, huh? Are you ready to give it a go and see for yourself?

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